- Associated Press - Monday, December 7, 2015

BARABOO, Wis. (AP) - Doris Wight has published short stories, scholarly works and children’s books. She has published collections of bird poems and sold an essay to Penthouse. But she could’ve published even more if all the writing hadn’t gotten in her way.

“A lot of my stories I didn’t have published, because I just write and write and write,” Wight told the Baraboo News Republic (https://bit.ly/1l9lcCR ).

The retired writing and dance teacher has been moonlighting as a prolific author for decades from her home on Eighth Avenue in Baraboo. She came to town in 1968 with late husband Doug, who had landed a job teaching English at the new two-year University of Wisconsin campus.

While raising three children and teaching writing, ballet and modern dance, Wight managed to author and publish several works covering a wide range of topics. These range from an analysis of the changing sexual mores of the 20th century to a children’s book about vanity to a ripped-from-the-headlines crime story she sold to Penthouse. Although it wasn’t published, Wight received $2,500 from the magazine. “That was my one time I made money,” she said with a smile.

Being a writer has never been about money for Wight. She is addicted to the craft. “It’s a compulsion,” she said. “It’s just something where you wake up, and you have to do it.”

In recent years she has made her work available online via Kindle devices: Her latest, “Campus Fairy Tale,” was released in May and is based on Wight’s experiences at the University of Wisconsin-Baraboo/Sauk County. It adds to a lengthy list of credits that include novellas about love, a grammar manual, a young adult novel and feminist essays. Wight’s writings have appeared in the Yale Review of Law and Feminism, the Christian Science Monitor and the Baraboo News Republic.

Time and again, though, she has returned to her passion for poems about birds. She has written 140 poems about birds, and published two collections of them. Overall, she has placed more than 400 poems in more than 150 publications. “I think I’m basically a poet,” Wight said.

She’s also a teacher: Wight has taught creative writing, comparative literature and English composition at UW-Madison, UW-Baraboo and Madison College. She also taught at a federal prison.

Although she originally planned to become a dancer, Wight switched her course of study to English and eventually earned a doctorate in comparative literature from UW-Madison. She also helped raise three children, whose drawings illustrate some of her books.

Wight is a member of the Fortnightly Literary Club, one of Baraboo’s longest-running organizations. She’s a frequent speaker, reading her work for the Fortnightly group and public events such as a senior citizen luncheon set for Nov. 30.

Her poetry has won several awards, and Wight has been included in “Who’s Who in Poetry” and “Who’s Who of American Women.” Upon retiring from teaching, she received a certificate from then-Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson.

These days, she finds an hour or more each day to sit down and write. She plans to continue “until I’m gone, as long as I can.”

“Stories come naturally.”


Information from: Baraboo News Republic, https://www.wiscnews.com/bnr

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